It’s unlikely that mac and cheese will ever be considered a health food. However, it can be prepared with a healthy focus in mind, and still yield a comforting, creamy bowl of pasta. If bacon is your thing, toss some cooked lardons through the sauce before grilling. Buy the best quality ricotta you can, as it’s the backbone of the dish.
- 200 g whole meal short pasta, such as macaroni or penne
- 150 g reduced fat ricotta cheese
- 200 ml reduced fat milk
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 30 g tasty cheese, grated
- 30 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water according to packet directions, drain.
Lightly greased 2 x 3 cup capacity (750 ml) heat proof shallow serving dishes and set aside.
Meanwhile, process or whisk the ricotta and milk until smooth. Add the mustard, onion powder and paprika and mix until combined. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring, until warm. Add the parsley and tasty cheese and continue to cook for 2–3 minutes until melted. Season well with black pepper and salt.
Preheat an oven grill over high heat. Combine the pasta and sauce and divide between the prepared dishes. Scatter over the parmesan cheese.
Place under the grill for 3–4 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.